Australian indie rockers The Jezabels returned to the spotlight in Melbourne and put on a slick headline performance between their national tour in support of Midnight Oil. The intimate gig, which took place at Lygon Street’s The John Curtin Hotel, had sold out within hours of its spontaneous announcement the week prior, and those lucky fans who managed to grab tickets were not left disappointed by the band’s 16-song setlist.

As the band took the stage and launched into Dark Storm’s ‘Mace Spray’, sans singer Hayley Mary would saunter onto the stage to an enraptured reception. A surprise to many fans was the addition of a new member, a bassist that founding member Sam Lockwood would later introduce simply as “Pete“. Mary revealed that his role was not just a sessional and touring member, but would officially be joining the former quartet from this point forward; an exciting revelation for a band who had previously joked about not needing a bassist.

While Pete did fly under the radar for most of the night, having to compete with the decade-old established sounds of Heather Shannon‘s uplifting keys, Lockwood‘s enveloping guitar and Nik Kaloper‘s atmospheric work with the sticks would be no easy feat, and it will be interesting to hear what new dimension he brings to both studio and live recordings in the future.

Blasting out a trio of tracks from 2011’s Prisoner, The Jezabels continued from strength to strength; a set highlight was the unveiling of their latest standalone single ‘The Others’, with Hayley Mary on rhythm guitar, conjuring smacks of The PretendersChrissie Hynde. On the day of the Melbourne Cup, the band produced their own winning trifecta with some of their best tracks with early fan-favourite ‘Disco Biscuit Love’, The Brink’s ‘Look of Love’ and the seductive ‘Pleasure Drive’ all strung together in quick succession.

The pull-no-punches setlist, which included hits from across each of the band’s releases, perhaps only lacked some of the more tender moments produced during the bands’ last national tour for 2015’s Synthia. Notable absentees from the set included songs such as ‘Stand and Deliver’ and ‘Smile’ while the band instead concluded with their single ‘A Little Piece’ rather than ‘The End’, which had become a fitting conclusion to their live shows on their previous national tour.

At one point in the night between tracks, one earnest male fan yelled out “Show us your powers!“. After an initial bristling and look of confusion (“Show you my what!?”) Mary relaxed, now fully at ease with the adoring crowd. “I can live with that,” she responded hesitantly. After introducing themselves around the country in front of one of Australia’s biggest rock bands, showing the nation what they’ve got is exactly the opportunity this little indie band from the streets of Sydney deserve.

There’s certainly something about Mary, and the country at large may be about to fall in love with her band.

1. ‘Mace Spray’
2. ‘Endless Summer’
3. ‘City Girl’
4. ‘Long Highway’
5. ‘The Others’
6. ‘Easy to Love’
7. ‘Sahara Mahala’
8. ‘Disco Biscuit Love’
9. ‘Look of Love’
10. ‘Pleasure Drive’
11. ‘If Ya Want Me’
12. ‘Angels of Fire’
13. ‘Got Velvet’
14.  ‘Dark Storm’
15. ‘Hurt Me’
16. ‘A Little Piece’